By Zach Taber, Staff Writer
October marks the beginning of LGBTQ+ History Month, a time dedicated to commemorating the contributions this marginalized group has made to history, and memorializing the struggle they’ve faced, and continue to face today. The United States began recognizing LGBTQ+ History Month in 1994, as it coincides with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, and it commemorates the October 1979 and 1987 LGBTQ+ Marches on Washington.
In observance of LGBTQ+ History Month, Rainbow Alliance and Promise have put together a series of events to celebrate and uplift the queer community on campus. “Promise hopes to provide the Post community with memorable, engaging and inclusive events and programming throughout October,” Anthony White, a success coach who’s been working with Rainbow Alliance to coordinate events throughout the month, said. “But more important is continuing our awareness for LGBTQ+ rights and equality for all peoples.”
The month began with a virtual discussion with LGBT Network Vice President Robert Virtelli on Oct. 1. If students missed out on this event however, there’s still plenty to come throughout the rest of October.
“Coming up we also have our video series “We’re Still Coming Out,” where people who want to can submit videos of their own coming out stories,” Nicole Ludwig, a senior psychology major, and the president of Rainbow Alliance, said. “Finally, we have our LGBTQ+ identity mixer on the 15, the screening of the movie “Milk” (also on the 15), and of the movie “Moonlight” on the 22.” All events are listed on Experience Shark Nation, as well as the Rainbow Alliance instagram page @liupostrainbowalliance and the Promise instagram page @postliupromise.
In hosting these events, Rainbow Alliance hopes to continue to develop Post as a safe space for the LGBTQ+ Community. “One of our largest communities on campus are our LGBTQ+ individuals. It is important that all people, including those within the LGBTQ community, feel respected, safe, and welcomed while immersed in the Post community,” White said.
Ludwig echoed White’s hopes for what the events of October might do for Post’s LGBTQ+ Community. “We hope to do two things: to educate, and to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ students and faculty. These two go hand in hand, as education promotes a safe space, and a safe space promotes education and learning,” she said.
Even if students aren’t able to attend the events Promise and Rainbow Alliance are hosting, there are other ways they can observe LGBTQ+ History Month. As a marginalized group, LGBTQ+ voices are often left out of historical narratives. “It’s crucial to question who wrote what you are reading, and whose experiences the text is focusing on,” Ludwig said. “If your textbooks and sources are all written by white men that are cisgender and heterosexual, then you might not be getting every side of the story, even if the authors had no intention of leaving anybody out or of having any kind of bias.”
Though LGBTQ+ History Month allows the queer community to fondly reflect on how far they’ve come in the struggle for LGBTQ+ Rights, October also functions as an important reminder of how much work still needs to be done, especially in today’s political climate.
“The Trump administration has attacked LGBTQ+ rights continuously, a lot of which have been targeted towards the trans community,” Ludwig said. “It’s important because LGBT+ rights are human rights. To deny us of our right to be ourselves and to be protected under federal law is dehumanizing and cruel. Inequality kills.”
Students looking to become more involved in the LGBTQ+ Community on campus can attend any of the events being hosted this month, and as always, the Rainbow Alliance continues to create safe spaces for any and all members of the queer community here at Post.
“For some people, college is the first time people can be out or even question or explore their sexuality or gender identity,” Ludwig said. “Rainbow Alliance is supposed to serve as a space where, no matter what your situation is outside of said space, you can feel safe, supported, and have some fun with people who support you.”